It’s been a very bittersweet 24 hours. At this time yesterday, I was pulling into our driveway with our sweet new arrival.
Say hello to Alfredo, our 5th puppy from Guide Dogs for the Blind. He follows Keebler, Urvek, Scooby, and Connie.
And, in our home, he joins Pacific, a career-changed black Lab from Guide Dogs for the Blind. We share Pacific with another puppy raiser and, though he decided he didn’t want to be a guide dog, he is a fabulous mentor pup and our hope is, he’ll be a fabulous therapy dog one day soon.
Alfredo is spunky and curious and confident. And, he turned 2 months old today.
So, of course he is teething. But, he’s sure cute.
Like all the puppies we have both raised and puppy-sat, he knows it, too. Not one has been wrong. They really are all cute, and they all capture our hearts at hello.
Because, how could they not?
Especially with that little stripe of fur that runs up his nose and creates the letter Y on his forehead.
Yesterday was quite bittersweet.
As my car pulled into place, the reality I had been working so hard to deny came crashing through the thin veil I had used to protect it; just as I opened my heart to welcome our new sweet boy, I could no longer deny the final minutes of time with our sweet, sweet wiggle-butt, Connie, were quickly ticking away. We’d spent the last 17 months together, growing and learning. And, in just over 12 hours, I would drive her north to meet up with the “puppy truck” so she could begin her trip back to the GDB Oregon campus.
I walked in the door and Connie, in her customary way, wiggled her little bum so hard and fast, I expected her to whip her face with her tail. I reached down to greet her and, just like that, my heart shattered, the dam broke, and tears began streaming down my face. Someday soon, I will share the story of our Connie-girl, but not today. Today, it is all just too raw.
As sweet as the hellos are, the goodbyes really are gut-wrenching. We know that going in. It’s part of the contract, so to speak. Still, and through all the sleepless nights and endless hours of training and heart-shattering goodbyes, it is worth it all, knowing that our small sacrifice might someday change a life.
In many ways, raising a puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind is a lot like parenting children. As we do with children, our job is always to give them roots and wings, or, as I always tag my puppy photos, to #loveandrelease.